Thursday, November 8, 2012

Comfort & Affliction

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction...  (IICor 1.3-4)

Affliction is a weird thing, isn't it?

Once we knew an older woman that we affectionately referred to as "Sister Williams".  We met and broke bread with her during the three years we lived in Panama.  Toward the end of our third year, at the age of 86, she got a bad case of pneumonia and died three weeks later.

I received a phone call from my husband on the day she died.  I was alone with my three little ones.  My tummy was already bulging with the fourth baby on the way.  Not knowing what to do, I just sat in the big rocking chair and cried for a while.

At this time, my comic-relief child was our Joanna, then three.

"Mommy, why are you crying?" she asked, head cocked to one side, four baby-dolls in hand and dragging her baby brother "Husdon" around with her..

"Well, honey.. Sister Williams died.  I am very sad.  I'm going to miss her.."

"Oh," she thought for a moment, "but you don't need to cry.  You only cry when someone takes your toys away from you.."

But then she proceeded to climb up into my lap and rock with me.  And soon enough, her sweet little body was completely asleep right next to me.. all comforting like.

I think that is what comfort is like.  We don't really understand someone's pain, and we have nothing in ourselves that is logically going to help that person.

We may or may not have gone through something like that before, but God has this unique ability to reach down deep within a person and comfort them through their afflictions.

God's ability to comfort is the craziest thing about the Christian life.

I can look at people who have gone through extremely sad experiences and wonder how I would ever put one foot in front of the other ever again had I just been through the same thing..??

And watch God work a huge, grueling, but real transformation in these people.

And sometimes I wonder if it isn't God's mercy that takes a person to be with Jesus "before their time" so to speak.  Perhaps their grief and sorrow bucket is completely filled up already and they are ready for the true comfort of being with God for eternity?

His ways truly are not our ways.  They are higher.  much higher.

And it is GOD who does the comforting.  HE is the comforter.  But for some reason, he prefers to tangle us up in the process, knowing that we don't have a loving bone in our body, apart from Him.

I, being useless, not compassionate, impatient, and quick to judge could potentially be used by GOD to do such a divine work as comforting someone???

Quite amazing.

And I think it all starts with affliction.  My external, internal, inside out and upside down.. afflictions..


Herding Grasshoppers said...

And THAT is very comforting,


Becky said...

Well said.

Jenny P. said...

Thank you.

Anonymous said...

I didn't know that story. It's wonderful. I love the idea of just being with someone in pain; it's the best thing we can do when we don't understand...which is most of the time.

Mrs. Parunak said...